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16 Apr

The Va-va-voom of Shrooms and Plant-based Wellness – WWD

There’s one thing that the wife of Chris Ball of Ball Family Farms would love everyone to know: Cannabis and sweetness go hand in hand.

Through the question-and-answer period within the session “The Way forward for Plant-based Wellness,” Ball’s wife — a model who has been in the sweetness business for 15 years — prompted her husband to flesh out the connection between the 2.

The need to put out the particulars is sensible. Although the substance’s decriminalization has been catching on in additional parts of the country, and sectors like beauty are seeing the rise of more cannabis-oriented products, it’s still a fledgling industry that has to fight misconceptions.

Put one other way, there are advantages or effects of cannabis beyond “getting high.”

“[My wife] at all times is attempting to enlighten me about my business and the way it goes hand in hand along with her business,” Ball explained. “So we made some little notes here…I don’t wish to forget, because I don’t wish to get in trouble once I leave here, so I’m gonna read this off my phone.

“OK. So what’s women’s biggest fear? Based on my beautiful wife, it’s aging.”

That matters, he added, since it’s directly impacted by lack of sleep and stress — two areas that, as research shows, may be improved with the usage of cannabis.

“If you’re consuming cannabis, or mushrooms for that matter, these variety of medicinal medicines can enable you to be [less] stressful, can enable you to sleep higher, can enable you to lead a greater life,” he added.

The insight capped a strong conversation between the founders of Bell Family Farms, Alice Mushrooms and Shroomboom. As start-up leaders, all of them got here bearing different stories and backgrounds. Ball was convicted for selling and distributing cannabis, before receiving a license in 2018 to do it legally. For Shroomboom’s Alejandra Rodriguez, struggles with an eating disorder led to a deep exploration of physical and mental health. Charlotte Cruz of Alice Mushrooms is the newcomer of the bunch, having just launched a functional mushroom-based brand of chocolates for focus and sleep in October.

None of those products were designed to get people high, but quite, to support overall wellness. Cruz helped set the stage, explaining that she categorizes consumable mushrooms into three types, with culinary at one end and psychedelic on the opposite. Functional fungi, where her brand operates, lies somewhere in the center.

The eye has put more of a public highlight on mushrooms, but wellness communities have been touting Lion’s Mane, Reishi and others for years. They have a tendency to be wealthy in fiber, protein, vitamins and myriad nutrients, and research into their advantages continues. Various studies are examining the usage of mushrooms for every part from cognitive advantages for Alzheimer’s patients to fueling energy levels. Far eastern cultures and others have long been using powdered mushrooms as a complement for medicinal or wellness purposes.

Alice Mushrooms packs them up into tasty chocolates, and Shroomboom offers a variety from gummies and beverages to topical creams and more.

For these brands, the excellence between functional and psychedelic is a vital one — not simply because of legalities, but as an entry point for further education about each forms.

“We wish to make use of our platform to coach people about functional mushrooms to then start breaking down a bit of little bit of the barriers people have toward mushrooms,” Cruz said. “Our goal is to be the primary recreational chocolate bar available on the market once the laws changes.”

She envisions psychedelic mushrooms following the identical trajectory as marijuana legalization, with Oregon and Colorado already primed to introduce a framework for it. There could also be advantages to psychedelics as well, given studies on helpful effects for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders.

Such studies matter, based on Rodriguez, citing the research behind psychedelic mushrooms. “It’s information that will not be debatable,” she said. “There’s science backing this and we’re at a time that we all know that not all drugs are bad for you.”

Likewise, for Ball, the usage of cannabis to assist ease pain or help cancer patients find their appetite are powerful arguments.

Across the board, these founders have major challenges on their hands. Constructing a successful brand while educating consumers to fight stigmas amid changing legalities is hard. But the advantage of literally expanding people’s minds outweighs that.

“This education is so vital,” Rodriguez said, “because if you’re giving a consumer information, you’re empowering them. You’re giving them tools, and that is the best way that they’ll make informed and educated decisions about their behavior.

“After we know, we are able to change our behavior.”

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